Just when fantasy owners thought he was in, he pulled himself out.
Only a few hours after declaring Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin healthy enough to return to the lineup after missing five consecutive games and the All-Star Game festivities in Raleigh, N.C. last weekend, coach Dan Bylsma announced today that "Geno" suffered a torn ACL and MCL early in the second period of his first game back.
Malkin had been dealing with a nagging knee injury and sinus infection prior to this most recent setback.
While rehabilitation options are being looked into, surgery and an extended absence appears to be the more likely prognosis. As such, tweaking your fantasy rosters is the best solution to salvage this setback.
Interestingly, on the one hand, Malkin's production has dipped in each of the past two hockey seasons, including this season's 15 goal, 22 assisst, 37 point, 18 PIM output through 43 games -- so for many fantasy owners, the injury is nothing to lose sleep over.
The big hit, though, is in his across-the-board production as a fantasy player. Malkin was ranked eighth entering Friday night with total shots (179) despite missing 10 games this season. He was also an effective contributor in the power play points category (14). The seemingly low 15-goal, 37-point totals have somewhat been an added big picture bonus.
So what to do? Here's a tip.
If you can't wait until official word as to the length of Malkin's injury, look into picking up someone like New York Rangers center Brandon Dubinsky, whose 17 goals, 22 assists and 62 PIMs eclipse the totals of Malkin.
Another option is to monitor the return of Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk.